Happy New Year! - 2015 at the Buffalo Niagara Border
From a number of perspectives, 2015 will be an interesting one at the border in Buffalo Niagara. Here's a quick overview:
First, we're looking forward to seeing how the exchange rate impacts border travel, particularly those Canadians coming across our bridges into WNY to shop and attend sporting and cultural events. Many global financial institutions are forecasting the Loonie to see a slow decline in 2015, with the exchange reducing to the 81-84 cent range. Several economic factors, including the strengthening of the U.S. dollar and global oil prices, are driving this decline in the Canadian dollar. Obviously, this will impact Canadian traveler spending power, so it's something to watch closely.
At the borders, motorists and commercial vehicles should continue to see minor construction interruptions, but nothing that will heavily impact traffic. There are a number of projects at Peace, Rainbow and Lewiston-Queenston Bridges either already underway or commencing in 2015, all designed to improve the flow of traffic and the border crossing experience.
In addition, local shippers and trucking companies are watching closely the results of the Pre-Inspection Pilot Program at the Peace Bridge, to inspect U.S.-bound trucks at the Peace Bridge on the Canadian side, within the more spacious Canadian plaza area, which by all accounts has been a successful initiative. It will be very interesting to see whether both federal governments are able to work out language to extend the pilot, work toward full implementation, or decide to take it offline. Many local interests are pushing for full implementation and are hopeful this concept will continue being used at the Peace Bridge.
Happy New Year to you from the team at Welke Customs Brokers. Wishing you a prosperous 2015!